By Antonio J. Salmerón
Saunier Duval's Iban Mayo will be coming into the Giro d'Italia "a little bit short of form," but ready to work for his Italian team-mate Gilberto Simoni, a two-time winner of the event (2001, 2003). "I will not arrive as good as I would like, but I hope about average during the first week of the race and then be on better form the last week, which will be the hardest week, and better for me," the Spaniard climber said.
Mayo's preparation for the Giro was delayed after a crash in Paris-Nice and an abandon from the Vuelta al País Vasco, which is why he doesn't expect great results in the first week of the Giro. "Surely, I will not show my best form in the fourth stage, where the first mountains appear. I am realistic, and I am going to go calmer, trying to reach an opportunity.
"We have very strong squad, and I think that the two first weeks we will be a powerful force," Mayo said. Nevertheless, Mayo was more concerned with the last week, when the team would face the decisive mountain stages. "I have to be where Simoni is. The idea is to finish the Giro strong," Mayo added.
He admitted that stage 17 will demand some "extreme measures for the Zoncolan climb," and said that "it might be necessary to use a 36 x 28, something that I have only used in the Angliru climb [in the Vuelta a España - ed.]."